Yoenis Cespedes Needs a Reality Check

The Baltimore Orioles had offered Yoenis Cespedes $90 million for five years, but while Cespedes was mulling his offers, the Orioles and slugger Chris Davis reached a seven year deal worth over $115 million. If the Orioles offer still stands, don’t expect Cespedes to come to a decision anytime soon.

Cespedes is one of those players that is extremely stubborn and emphasis on the extremely. It sounds like Yoenis would rather not play next season than accept a lowball offer. But the tricky part is that Cespedes thinks he is worth everybody’s top dollar. I stand by my original free agency article saying that Yoenis’s best fit is in Detroit but that is becoming less and less likely now that the Tigers acquired Justin Upton (6yrs/$125m). Rumors suggest that Roc Nation Sports is looking for a six year deal worth around $130 million dollars for La Potencia. That is around the yearly salary that perennial Cy Young candidates Masahiro Tanaka and Max Scherzer make. It is also more than former NL MVP Buster Posey, AL MVP Mike Trout, and Jason Heyward earn annually. But Cespedes will want to get around the same amount of money as Upton recently earned himself (~$21m)

Personally, I think that Cespedes is a player worth $15-$18 million annually and based on his inconsistent ability on the field I would not feel safe in a six year deal, a four year deal would be ideal. Regardless of the contract I wouldn’t sign Cespedes since there is comparable talent available for less money whether it is on the free agency market or the trade block. Dexter Fowler is an option that I would be looking at over Cespedes thanks to his well-rounded ability to produce using multiple combination of tools that most players lack. Even players like Chris Carter on the trade market get on base around the same amount as Yoenis. The fear that La Potencia puts into baserunners with his arm strength is invaluable but his range in the outfield is nothing worth writing home about. 29 year old Cespedes has a very similar offensive track as a 29 year old Trot Nixon.

Cespedes Nixon

Would you pay 29 year old Trot Nixon $132 million over six years today? What if I told you that Nixon would only play at least 100 games in two more seasons? I’m not alluding that Cespedes will become the next Nixon but suggesting that a six year contract of that magnitude for a player approaching the wrong side of 30 years old is a bit ambitious.

Regardless of what I say, Cespedes will get paid and paid a lot by some team in the near future. Now we will have to play the waiting game to see where Cespedes and Roc Nation Sports will agree to set up camp for the upcoming seasons.

Cover photo via Huffington Post

Stats via Baseball Reference


4 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m not a fan of Cespedes by any stretch of the imagination. I think he’s overrated, but he’s definitely worth more than what you give him credit for. Right handed power is at a premium right now, and he provides it. He’s got a rocket of an arm and decent speed too. But I don’t agree with the Trot Nixon comparison. Nixon had five years in the big to put up those numbers and Cespedes had four. Also, Cespedes’ home run numbers may be skewed because he’s played in places like Oakland and New York, which are pitcher friendly ballparks. Meanwhile, Fenway is rather hitter friendly, even though Nixon was a lefty and didn’t have the luxury of just hitting an average popup and having it go over the Monster.


    1. TJ Tullis says:

      I agree with your Oakland ballpark argument but Cespedes played for just under half of a season with Boston and was extremely lackluster. I’m not saying that he is Trot Nixon or will become Trot Nixon, I’m simply saying Cespedes is a question mark and for the most part unproven with only four years of experience. You never know how hitters and players will play once they get a big contract and start to age a little bit. I think that it would be silly to lock down a long term deal with Yoenis. But for his pricetag… I would search for other options


      1. I would be scared as well to lock him up long term. He’s detrimental to a locker room and things he’s hot stuff. I loved Nixon no doubt, mainly because of his dirty cap, but Cespedes is a good talent. But this is most likely the last contract he’ll get in his prime, and you know someone will overpay for him. I wouldn’t call him unproven, he’s been an All-Star before and smashed in the Cuban league. But who knows where he winds up.


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